HMS California (F 55)
Armed Merchant Cruiser
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Type||Armed Merchant Cruiser|
|Class||[No specific class]|
|Built by||A. Stephen & Sons Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Launched||17 Apr 1923|
|Commissioned||15 Oct 1939|
|End service||1 Apr 1942|
On 25 August 1939 the passenger ship California of the Anchor Line (Henderson Bros) Ltd, Glasgow was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 15 October 1939.
Displacement: 16792 BRT
On 1 April 1942 returned and used as troopship by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT).
On 11 July 1943 bombed and badly damaged in a convoy by a German Fw200 aircraft of KG40 about 320 nautical miles west of Oporto. The ship caught fire and was abandoned and scuttled the next day by HMS Douglas in 41°15'N, 15°24'W. 72 dead and 695 survivors.
Commands listed for HMS California (F 55)
Please note that we're still working on this section.
|1||Capt. Cuthbert John Pope, RAN||7 Nov 1939||Oct 1941|
|2||A/Capt. Gerald Seymour Tuck, DSO, RN||Oct 1941||23 Dec 1941|
|3||Capt. (retired) Edward Wollaston Kitson, RN||23 Dec 1941||early 1942|
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Notable events involving California include:
18 Nov 1939
The German merchant Borkum (3670 GRT) is captured in the North Atlantic by the British armed merchant cruiser HMS California (Capt. C.J. Pope, RAN). While en route under her prize crew to Kirkwall in the Orkney's she was torpedoed at 1530 hours on 23 November. She was hit by a torpedo from German U-boat U-33 and was abandoned two days later. The Borkum drifted ashore in Papa Sound and was declared a total loss. On 18 August 1940 she was refloated and towed to Rosyth, where she was broken up.
11 Aug 1940
HMS California (Capt. C.J. Pope, CBE, RAN) picks up 30 survivors from the British merchant Llanfair that was torpedoed and sunk on 11 August 1940 by German U-boat U-38 200 nautical miles west of Tory Island in position 54°48'N, 13°46'W. One of the survivors died aboard and was buried at sea on 13 August.
5 Dec 1940
The German blockade breaker Klaus Schoke (5830 GRT) was intercepted by HMS California (Capt. C.J. Pope, RAN) in the mid-Atlantic near the Azores. Unfortunately before the German ship can be captured it is scuttled by her own crew.
30 Mar 1941
HMS California (Capt. C.J. Pope, RAN) picks up 39 survivors from the British merchant Coultarn. that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-69 southwest of Iceland in position 60°18'N, 29°28'W.